Thursday, October 29, 2020

YOU can use our military to defend us!... and final zingers... and Trump's by-far most-sincere plea.

Okay, I’m cheating you. I promised to post every chapter of Polemical Judo before the election. But a couple of them won't change anyone's minds and are more about sage arguments over policy. Like Chapter 9: "America’s place in the world - Pax Americana and the rise of China." No time for that one. And Chapter 15: "Exit Strategies" - is now a year old, discussing everything from the 25th Amendment to what Vladimir Putin might do, if his "assets" become liabilities.

The latter has happened already, with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell tearing down what little remained of Republican credibility, rendering that tool of oligarchs ineffective (one hopes)... though several of the darker scenarios in Chapter Nine actually came true! And several even darker ones may yet.

No. with just two postings left before the very few undecideds join sparse lines of voters on actual Election Day, let me admit: almost no one was interested in Polemical Judo - who reads anymore? - and I shoulda done a 'podcast' right?

== More effective, by far… ==

I recently exchanged signed books (and admiring remarks) with retired Adm. William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who forged the modern standards for Special Operations and who oversaw the toppling of Khaddafi, Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Yes, all three! He tells those tales grippingly in "SEA STORIES: My Life in Special Operations." 


While serving as Chancellor of the University of Texas, he had a best seller - "MAKE YOUR BED" - of advice how to inspire boys to become better men.


I've long held admirals in special respect. There is very little slop-room for error in the US Navy. Having given lecture series at the Naval Postgraduate School, I know the high level of intellect and fact-centered sagacity of most of the officer corps, in general... with some glaring exceptions. I've long recommended that retired senior officers be enlisted – along with retired judges, scientists etc. - into a fact-checking corps that might help restore Americans' confidence in a much-maligned thing called Objective Reality.


Also someone I've had contact with when I consulted with ODNI and some alphabet agencies. James Stavridis is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, who tells here about how the most dangerous waters in the world may be the eastern Mediterranean, with Turkey in friction vs. Russia near Syria and Libya... and Turkey vs. Greece in the Aegean and Russia flexing against NATO and on and on. 


At least with general energy independence achieved by the US around 2014, there is no longer any excuse to keep valuable carrier groups guarding the increasingly irrelevant but volatile and dangerous Persian Gulf or Straits of Hormuz.


More from that very respect-worthy admiral. 


== And more so-called "deep staters" (actually heroes) are standing up for us… ==


A group of 73 former U.S. National Security officials who served under GOP administrations, including former CIA and FBI chiefs, endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a joint statement on During the Democratic Party Convention, joining the growing number of prominent Republicans to depart from their party for the 2020 election.  Yeah, yeah. “Deep-State.” 

And: "Former U.S. attorneys — all Republicans — back Biden, saying Trump threatens ‘the rule of law’. Indeed, name for me a fact-centered caste in our society, a vast majority of whom... including most former Republicans... are joining in this tsunami? The MAGA meme most-current is "education makes you a traitor."


== Why do I raise this right now, in the final week?  ==


Because no zinger is more powerful with MAGA males than to demand they back up their cult’s all out war on the reputations of the men and women who crushed Hitler, thwarted Stalin, won the Cold War and the War on Terror… and who Foxites now denounce – without a scintilla of evidence – as “deep state” enemies. 


This hypocrisy… when laid bare exactly as I just did… really rocks them back. Not enough to change parties… but maybe enough to stay home and get drunk when it matters – on Election Day. When that thing... staying home and getting MAGA pals to do it too, even in sullen torpor... would be an act of genuine patriotism.

You might be able to get that much from them. By saying the generals and admirals and real heroes want them to.


== Of some potential zinger value ==


We’ve seen a raft of videos by the Lincoln Project – searing stuff. But. Dang this channel of videos against Trump are personally financed by one fellow - a fellow author of thriller/scifi novels - who has more of a sense of political knife-fighting than any official democrat, or even the Lincoln Project’s upright Republicans. The Ivanka riff is cringeworthy. The one about Democrats having served and fought for our country devastates the lying slander pushed by Fox.

When they raise Hunter Biden, ask them to name the actual crime! Then ask what crime they got out of 25 years and half a billion dollars of "Clinton investigations." Finally, demand they bet real cash stakes whether in a year the sum total of "Hunter revelations" amount to more than what Eric, Don Jr., Pompeo, Mulvaney and the rest have done on every single weekday. Or ask them to bet whether Obama or the Clintons ever did 1% of this crap -- How Donald Trump Moved Millions From His Campaign Donors To His Private Business. Or Emails show how Pompeos mixed personal, official business "We view this as a family endeavor," Pompeo's son, Nick Pompeo, wrote to State Department officials.

Whenever you demand a wager -- one to be judged by retired, senior military officers -- they always run. It would be funny, if not pathetic.


== And finally … a lying meme re-interpreted as true! ==


Here's the poster he sends to every one of his despot pals and the world's casino moguls, mafia dons, petro sheiks, former-commissar billionaires, inheritance brats and would-be feudal lords. 

  Oh, sure, the Tea Party guys are circulating it so their idiot-confed followers think Trump is talking to them

But it is totally about and directed to Putin, MBS and Kim and Murdoch and all the world mafias.  Re-interpret it that way and it becomes powerfully, terrifyingly true.

Look at it that way and see he's pleading with them not to deem their asset obsolete. A liability.

That re-interpretation makes you so want it to be true.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

How Borat&Rudy prove my point about blackmail. Plus the dreaded chapter on WAGERS! (It works!)

Last time we skipped past my long familiar chapter on the 8 phases of the US Civil War and gave instead a cluster of zingers you might use on any remaining undecideds... or to at least get your yammering uncle to shut up.  

This time? Chapter 15 of Polemical Judo offers in detail my call for wagers! Demanding a cash bet always, always, always  sends MAGAs running for the hills! Not once has any of them shown the guts to back up his yammered faux-memes with escrowed stakes and a clear matter to be resolved by an impartial panel. They absolutely always run away with their mach -- the thing they value most (the reason they love Trump) -- shredded.

A variant on this, devastating to polysyllabic ratiuonalizaers, is the Name One Exception Challenge! It truly leaves them stammering and befuddled and shamed. Like they deserve. See further down.

But first...

== The real truth that Borat showed you! ==

Borat’s sting on Rudy Giuliani is hilarious of course… it couldn’t happen to a worse guy. But there’s a blatant sub-text which I doubt anyone else will comment on. This stunt reveals how easy it can be to lure a male politician — especially Republicans, it seems — into a blackmail trap. 

I've railed about this for 20 years. Blackmail was always the #1 KGB tool, all the way back to the Czarist Oprichina and forward to today’s slightly relabeled KGB/FSB, in which the same guys with the same goal (our downfall) use all the same old methods with far greater success than ever.

 DC is filled with men (mostly) and (some) women whose behavior is inexplicable except in light of blackmail. With Lindsey Graham, it’s as obvious as gravity! But what else can explain what Anthony Kennedy did to our republic? Or the craven-howling reversals of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and so many others who weren’t even up for re-election? The very notion that Pompeo and Barr are pumping their treason to such levels only because of ideology is absurd!

If Giuliani fell for this obvious come-on lure so easily… and the guys who went with Epstein… and those who lie awake fearful of the contents of David Pecker’s safe… then why is it so hard for you to picture expert agents pulling it more subtilely and plausibly and effectively on large numbers of movers and shakers - each of them convinced he is alone in the world, trapped and helpless? Why would our enemies NOT do this, during an era when the FBI and counter-intel have been deliberately hamstrung?

Oh, I have pleaded for some patriotic billionaire to put out a fund to lure blackmail victims into the open. I pray Biden will do so with calibrated offers of some clemency, in exchange for light. But above all, read my article cited here on how the NEW wave of reformist politicians heading for Washington, in January, NEED TO WATCH OUT!

They must take care because each and every one of them, especially the males… or the male relatives of the females… likely WILL be targeted with the same methods… (only executed much better)… as snared poor old Rudy.

Only now on to my chapter on wagers! This is the version in Polemical Judo, as of November 2019 I've refined my challenges later, to account for the methods used by squirmers to wriggle out of any fact-challenge. So I'll offer an updated and distilled version in COMMENTS, below. But the essence is the same. And what a pity no democrat or pundit has had the guts to try it.



Chapter 15


Hammer Their Macho With Wagers!

And The Name-an-Exception Challenge



During a televised debate in late 2011, while seeking his party’s presidential nomination, Mitt Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to put some money-where-his-mouth-is. “Rick, I'll tell you what,” Romney said, extending his hand. "Ten thousand bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?" 


Perry declined, snarling, “I'm not in the betting business.” 


Now, many ironies abound here. First off, Perry was part of the Republican wave who enabled and empowered the vast expansion of gambling in America, till casino moguls now rival even Rupert Murdoch, or the Mercers or Saudis, or even Vladimir Putin in party influence. So yes, he was in the betting business


Also ironic; Perry would have trivially won a wager over whether Romney had supported Obamacare-style individual mandates.[1] Of course Romney – with a $200+ million fortune, came off as a bullying rich man. Here’s what one pundit railed,[2] at the time:


“Twitter lit up with jokes about what $10,000 could buy for non-millionaires, and … that Iowa’s per capita income is about $38,000. Before the debate was over, Jon Huntsman's campaign bought the domain, and other GOP rivals were quick to pounce, too. How badly will this off-the-cuff wager hurt Romney?”[3]


Um, not at all? Perry faded after that evening. Romney, undamaged by the “Wagergate Gaffe,” handily won the sought-for nomination, though he later lost the general election to President Barack Obama. Note that Romney’s notoriously ham-handed $10k bet stunt raised his cred across the Republican base, but more broadly discredited an entire general approach to dealing with lies and liars… almost as if that had been his intent. It also – if considered closely – helped point to possible solutions.

Stop relying on what doesn’t work.


We are not handling well the right’s war on facts; it’s proved every day. Those who are spurring the all-out campaign against evidence-based reason laugh at all our efforts to fight back with nerd-stuff…


… like long lists of Trumpian lies[4]… or “fact-checking services”[5]… or reports signed by all top experts in a field… or condemnations by scores of past eminent states-persons against lunatic behaviors at the top… or exposés by top journalists. 

Yes, those are grownup methods – and there are ways (discussed in Chapter 5) to improve them greatly. But alas, our elites of politics, law, journalism, punditry and science seem obstinately incapable of lifting their gaze: to realize their “sumo” methods aren’t working. 


Fact-checking services range from Snopes to to The Washington Post – and none of them even nibble along the edges of Republican base support. They fail before a convenient Fox counter-narrative: 


“These so-called fact-checkers are just more fake-news. They reveal their bias when they point out far more falsehoods by Republicans than Democrats!”


Do you find that “logic” infuriating? Well, your impotent frustration is their food. How often must you slam your head against the same wall, before admitting the power of “Sez you”? Again, from Chapter 5: if you offer a cogent, fact-filled link as evidence, your “red” cousin will flood you with counter-links! And who are you to claim yours are better? If you cite experts, you’re a slave of conformist authority (Chapter 2.) 


There are endeavors that might bring rationality back to discourse – like competitive Disputation Arenas[6] and the Fact Act – but none will work quickly enough, across a near-term electoral time scale. Meanwhile, we need rapid and effective ways to pound through the obstinacy of Sez you! So let me put this in both boldface and italics:


There is one area where your “red” uncle, cousin, colleague or neighbor still admits the primacy of fact. A wager. One that’s fair, well-parsed and tightly framed with clear stakes and an accepted, neutral judge.


The most clear-cut example is a sports bet. And for the sake of this one point, in this one paragraph, let’s drop any pretense of gender neutrality, shall we? We’re talking Neanderthal-hormonal preening, here. A real man has the guts to slap cash on the bar to back up his bluster-claims. It’s how to separate a fellah with cojones from a blowhard, or a coward.


Sure, when you expand from sports into areas like science or politics – and get less explicitly sexist – things become complicated. There are ways for wager-challenges to stumble, like the Romney Stunt of trying to bully with deep pockets. Or agreeing over who holds the stakes.[7] Or zeroing in on exactly what facts to bet upon. (See the next section.)


Yes, for politicians and public figures, this is a bit of a minefield.[8] It helps to make the wager’s beneficiary “my chosen charity versus yours.” That can work if it’s an amiable encounter, like when late night host Jimmy Kimmel took on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in one-on-one basketball. No one formula will work in all situations, so here’s a general way to pose it: 


“I’ve tried getting you to commit to a position (say on climate change) and you keep slipping aside. So will you negotiate some way to make this a fact-based wager? Is there any stake we might all deem fair? Any august sage you’d accept as arbiter? Any way you’d let this narrow down to something clear-cut, we all can judge, yes-or-no?”


It’s the core challenge to throw down before a fact-evading cult: “Is there any way you’ll stop squirming, so we can nail this down, one verified fact at a time?”  


(Earlier I offered a version having to do with fact-checking that I’d love to see an eminent personage like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, or George F. Will hurl at Sean Hannity.[9])


Want examples? Let’s start with very simple bets that offer your confed no wriggle room, because they do boil down to clearly verifiable fact.


– Are the oceans getting more acidic, to a potentially deadly degree? And is it because of human generated greenhouse gas?


– Would you put money on a randomly chosen Trump accusation of “fake news?” From the past or some random day in the near future? Or randomly chosen items from WaPo’s list of  40,000+ lies? [10] 


– Have any Republican “supply side” tax cuts for the rich ever resulted in the promised vast increases in capital investment, millions of high-paying jobs, sustained GDP growth and plummeting deficits? Ever?


– The Caspian and Black Seas are almost dead. The Mediterranean and Caribbean appear to be dying. Is preventable pollution to blame? Put down a wager, or else shall we decide together to save them?


– Who crafted nearly all the key provisions for what came to be called Obamacare, Democrats or Republicans?


– Which political party generally leaves U.S. defenses, alliances and resilience in better shape than how they found them? Which party nearly always leaves the American military worse off than before they took over?


– Are glaciers retreating or “setting records”?[11] Or I bet you can’t prove any allegations of busloads of fake voters swarming the polls.  Or the “biggest inauguration, ever,” or hours spent on golf. Or Those ‘birther’ claims. Or….


Have any five other presidents (combined) been “betrayed” by as many appointees as Trump? Officials and aides whom he earlier called “great guys?” And what does this say of Donald Trump as a judge of character?


Those challenges offer examples of the needed traits for an aggressive wager-challenge. They are clear and simple, selected for low “squirm factor” – or ability to weasel… say by demanding “define acidic!” They come from a very long list sampled in other sections. 


Don’t try to tell me “We’ve already challenged Republicans on all those things!” No. You have not. I repeat; you have not. You have whined about them. You’ve done it in ways they can simply shrug off, while relishing your frustration. 


Okay, now comes the kicker, again in both boldface/italic:


Almost never will they accept any kind of wager! 

Efforts to pin them down will fail. 

They’ll writhe and squirm and ramble and “whatabout”-distract.[12]

They will not agree to actual stakes over a clearly defined matter of evidence, with impartial arbiters.


Um. So. Brin. Did you just admit this entire “wager” thing won’t work?


No, I did not admit that. 

What I said is they’ll refuse to bet! 

And if you’ve learned anything at all about polemical judo, you’ll see what an opportunity that opens.


Dig it. The research of cognitive linguist George Lakoff proved that roughly half of Americans prefer a “strong father” over the liberals’ “nurturing parent.” Fundamentalists idolize a man who is opposite-to-Jesus in every way, because he galls the same people they hate. Every GOP convention and rally is now a festival of macho puffery. Even a third of U.S. Hispanic males revere Trump’s caudillo bluster, despite all the offensive racism. 


It seems an impervious castle that no gambit by enlightenment forces can penetrate,[13]because any appeal to fact or reason makes us seem the weakling whiners! A strong father doesn’t need to be right, only strong! Objective refutation won’t undermine him, though compromise might. So he’ll never compromise.


Above all, any sign of weakness is lethal. So his one aim will be to avoid showing any. 


Did you think I was talking about Donald Trump, just now? If so, you miss the point. Macho bully-bluster is the core foundation of today’s entire rightist populism. It has always been the soul of the confederacy.


Which is where wagers come in. Because the substance of the bet is less significant than their refusal to ante-up.  It opens our real opportunity – to hammer with ridicule, undermining that delusional image of virile strength. Of manliness. They base their brand upon it. So that’s where to aim savage kicks, and repeat over and over.


The refrain is “coward!”


It can work. It already has.


How many of you have followed the lawsuit in which Alex Jones, the infamous conspiracy-spewer and purveyor of perverted paranoias, was finally chased down by victims of his insanely vicious Sandy Hook attacks? Dig it, the Sandy Hook parents' lawsuit was essentially a forced wager! Oh, how Jones backpedaled from his rants that the mourning parents were all actors, grieving over nonexistent lost children. He swerved, first claiming he was innocently mistaken, then that his slanderous lies had simply been a ‘stage performance.’ Finally, he’s been pleading insanity! All to no avail.


Yes, it’s time for a great many more such lawsuits and forced wagers. But that misses the point of this chapter. Because it is the very act of cornering them, and seeing them refuseto bet, that gives this method power.


My favorite is ocean acidification – O.A. – because it has every trait we need. O.A. sidesteps all the narratives of distraction over climate change. In fact, Fox et. al. avoid ever mentioning it, since the cause is inarguable, the symptoms are easily measured by non-experts, and the deadly effects are indisputable. Start with a glass of water and a straw and two swimming pool test strips. Just blowing bubbles from your CO2-rich lungs will turn the water acidic. Then offer to go down to the shore with a pH meter… or visit the chemistry teacher at a community college… or… 


Choose carefully. Learn to pick a challenge that has no ambiguity, no room to squirm. Share tips and videos with each other. When they try to dodge, dare them to help pick arbiters and stake-holders who – even if “conservative” – are reputably adult and judicious. And if they demur, then chide: “Oh, your cult can’t supply any?”


When they waver and hedge and quibble and try to claim they never bet, remember to taunt: “Of course you bet! You’re so sure of this Foxite crap that you’re willing to bet the lives of our planet and nation and children, but not a hundred bucks?” Slap a sawbuck on the table and demand “If you’re so sure, come and take my money!


At which point we reach our final boldface/italic riff:


Your effort to pin them down – offering real stakes – shows YOUR confident strength, by THEIR standards. When they refuse to bet, it will result in either backpedaling or else frantic flight. Either way, you win something for all fact people. A small victory for this civilization.


If they backpedal from one climate-denial position to a slightly less-insane one, then you may be dealing with a RASR… a Residually Adult-Sane Republican… who could be worth the effort of pursuit, chopping away rationalizations, one by one, aiming toward the greatest possible reward. Redemption of a useful fellow citizen, who might then influence others.


And if he flees? 


Then you have turned the macho tables. Chase his quivering manly heinie with “coward!”


I mean that, and nothing less. Enjoy the immaturity, because it’s their language! And your immature enjoyment is something that playground bullies deeply understand. They made this a variant of war.[14]


NOEC: The Name One Exception Challenge [15]


Here’s a related approach that’s more sophisticated, but it can be effective with a different kind of person – generally someone who makes a show of seeming logical. You may have to think about this one carefully, but it applies well beyond politics.


Consider. If I make a specific accusation – say that you committed a particular crime – then the burden of proof is on me. Fair enough. But what happens when I make a universal assertion?


Say: “The daylight sky is always blue!” 

…or: “The ocean is always wet!”

…or: “Snails never deliver Hamlet soliloquies.” 


Do I bear a burden of proof then? Well, that depends on “always” and “never.”


When I challenge you to disprove a Universal Assertion, it should be easy! Just find one exception. If you cite even one, then the statement might still be frequently or generallytrue, but it’s not a universal. For example, anyone can point to days when the sky’s another color. Blue sky is a general truth that’s proved not to be universal.  It’s the “always” part that’s disproved by a single counter-example.


The wet-ocean generality is universal, unless the argument dissolves into definition quibbles. But when it comes to Shakespearean gastropods, well the burden of proof falls on anyone who claims the universal “never” ain’t so. Your failure to find even one slimy-shelled melancholy Dane proves me right![16]


Not in a court of law. Indeed, if your opponent can name exceptions, then the argument falls back under rules of preponderance of evidence. “Never” just becomes “hardly ever.”


Applying This To Politics. Any member of the Climate Denialist Cult can cite weather examples that seem to violate global warming, hence it cannot be proved by Name an Exception, but by tediously showing the factual basis for why 99% of scientists agree that global warming endangers all our children. This Name An Exception riff isn’t applicable to that hard fight.


But when a general accusation is very broad, and your opponent cannot name even onecounter-example, it has profoundly effective import. At that point the generality enters territory like “the sun always rises at dawn,” or “a rock that you throw in the air will always come down.” One counter-example – even one – will destroy the word “always.” But failure to cite any counter-example makes “always” powerful! 


Especially when the assertion is in history or politics. Jiminy, almost everything in those fields has exceptions! If you can’t find even one, then it means you are wrong, wrong, incredibly wrong.


For the following general assertions, a burden of proof falls on your conservative friend to show how the accusations have any exceptions, any at all! And if your RASR fails to find even one, then they are true.


Moreover, if any of these Name One Exception Challenges (NOEC) – even one of them – cannot be refuted with a single counter-example, then your opponent’s movement is not a political party. It is a dangerously insane and incompetent cult.


(At this point in the book, you’re already familiar with these dares and challenges. I make no apologies, as the chapters of this tome are compiled from many articles. In any event, perhaps by you now see the value of repetition.)


1-   NAME ONE fact-centered profession of high knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump and cohorts. Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science.[17] Thirty years ago, 40% of U.S. scientists called themselves Republican. Now it’s 2% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 


Now? As I’ve repeated many times (and so should you) the Republican enemies list includes the FBI and law professionals, the vast variety of civil servants, plus the U.S. military and intelligence officer corps. All are dismissed as “deep state” foes conspiring against goodness and freedom. Oh no, this is not your mommy’s or daddy's conservatism. Name one exception.[18]


2- NAME ONE major GOP leader between Reagan and Ryan who was even mentioned at the 2016 Republican Convention. Except for Newt Gingrich, all were brushed under the rug, including both Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dennis Hastert, Tom (convicted felon) DeLay, Boehner. In fact, name a republican top leader between Eisenhower and Ryan who was even mentioned by the party at the 2016 RNC, other than Reagan and Newt! This shows how writhing ashamed Republicans are, of their record at governance. And if you disavow those past Republican administrations as incompetent, Russia-hating, enterprise-destroying, warmongering liars, then where is your party’s credibility?


3- NAME ONE of the dark fantasies about Obama, from black UN helicopters to taking away all our guns, that provably and verifiably happened, or was even tepidly tried. Heck, let’s throw in the Kenyan birth and Sharia Law stuff. Indeed, after 25 years and half a billion dollars of Clinton-Obama investigations… well… see #5.


4- NAME ONE time when supply side (voodoo) “economics” made a successful prediction? Ever? One time when slashing taxes on the rich led to reduced deficits, to vastly stimulated economic activity, or even much investment in "supply" capital? Or increased money velocity or middle class health? Once when the outcomes weren’t diametrically opposite to all promises. One time when this cult religion actually delivered? (Chapter 11.)


A related riff we saw in Chapter 3 might also be used as a NOEC: When was “America Great”? While we’re sending probes past Pluto, and rovers across Mars, discovering thousands of planets across the galaxy, curing diseases, raising billions of children out of poverty around the world and so on. But sure, tell us when you think it was all better! The 1950s? Run by the Greatest Generation who adored FDR? They knew the dangers of oligarchy and passed many rules to control it. Rules like forbidding companies to waste money on stock buybacks, where nearly all of the recent Trump Tax Cut was frittered away, without tangible investment in R&D or factories. In fact, every major move away from the Rooseveltian social contract resulted in lower growth, wider wealth disparity, shorter commercial ROI horizons, declines in R&D and increasing dominance by a crazy MBA caste. Name an exception!


5- NAME ONE time in American – or human – history, when an administration spanning eight years had zero – or close to zero –  scandals or indictments concerning proved malfeasance in the performance of official duties. It happened twice in American – or human – history. The administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Name another! There was one four-year U.S. administration that had no malfeasance-of-office scandals… that of Jimmy Carter.  (Yes, there were a few scandals outside that description, “malfeasance in the performance of official duties,” though fewer overall than any month or week of a Trump or Bush administration.)


Let’s be clear. The Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations looked hard for evidence, some smoking-gun, to pin on Carter, Clinton and Obama. They sifted like crazy when they owned every federal department and ran dozens of investigatory committees, wasting hundreds of millions looking for something – anything.  “W” ordered federal agents transferred from counter terror duties to join this hunt before 9/11… arguably costing thousands of American lives. And they found, what? A husband fibbed about infidelity… then a wife made the same email mistake as both Bushes, Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Jared Kushner.  


In contrast, GOP administrations – all of them – were rife with indictments, convictions and pardons. We’ll elaborate on this one in the next “pause” section.

 But for now… name an exception.


6- NAME  ONE counter-example to Republicans damaging every strength that won the Cold War. Almost every thing that bolstered us during that struggle is being systematically dismantled, from our alliances to science, from dedicated intelligence and law agencies to the moral high ground and the rule of law and the respect of the world. There may be exceptions, though I know of none.


The next one has become iffy amid the “great Trump economy!” But I choose (in September 2019) to include it here because it was generally true ever since Reagan, and by the time you get to these words, it (sadly) may be true again.


7- NAME ONE major metric of U.S. national health that did better across the entire spans of any completed GOP administration, than across the spans of the Clinton and Obama terms.  Nearly all such metrics declined - many plummeting - across both Bush regimes. (See Chapters 10 & 11.) Nearly all of them – from scientific accomplishment to world reputation – rose, many of them by a lot, across both terms of the last two Democratic Administrations. That includes every sane conservative desideratum like rate of change of deficits (Chapter 11) and even military readiness!  The condition of our alliances. Small business startups. Entrepreneurship. 


Here’s hoping this last one breaks the pattern, with America doing well all the way to Trump’s finish. But I’m sadly sure we’ll get to cite this one too, and demand that our Residually Adult-Sane Republican friends name one exception.


Okay, Part 2 of this chapter was a whole lot more complicated than the macho-targeting missile of Part 1. The Name One Exception Challenge is more for use with your logical (or at least pretending to be) RASR cousin. 


Sure, they are still koolaid-slurpers. They’ll shout “squirrel!” and point offstage at some assertion or distraction, concocting scenarios and excuses to explain why they cannot answer any of those NOEC challenges. 


And yet, on rare occasion I meet the real McCoy – a genuinely sincere conservative “ostrich” willing to lift his or her head, when tugged by these dares. I have seen them budge. 


Please understand the value of that. Because sanity, like insanity, can be infectious. 


It can spread.


Ian Fleming knew what to make of this.


All right, this chapter was about something that most blue Americans have given up as hopeless, breaking through the seemingly impenetrable walls that Fox and Putin and Trump have built to protect their red-confederate base. You may call it futile and useless. But you have only to look at how much treasure and effort they are pouring into shoring up those walls, to realize how any breach terrifies them!


As I’ve repeated. They know they’ll lose an occasional election, like 1992 and 2008. But history shows they can come roaring back (1994 and 2010) so long as the base is secure. Moreover, even if that base diminishes, but stays riled enough, our enemies can still harm America by unleashing floods of lava hot Timothy McVeighs.


Yes, the methods in this chapter are worth trying. Someone must. The obstinate refusal of our blue ‘generals’ – pundits, politicians etc. – to ever try anything except what never worked has to be overcome, the way Lincoln sought, and finally found, warriors who could fight.


We must recall the wisdom found in good fiction:


Fool us once? Shame on you.

Fool us a million times? Then fire all our incompetent pundits!


Better yet, let’s go to the font of wisdom, when it comes to dealing with skullduggerous plots and schemes.


Goldfinger’s Rule:  [19]

 “Once, Mr. Bond, may be happenstance. 

“Twice could be coincidence.

“Three times is enemy action.”


[1] He had. Obamacare was based largely on “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, which was cloned from the GOP approved Heritage plan, as described elsewhere in this book. And the individual mandate was a centerpiece, the pride and joy of its authors… till Obama gave it cooties.


[2] Romney’s ‘bet’


[3] Romney’s ‘Out of Touch’ $10,000 Bet.”


[4] 12,000 Trump lies as of August 2019.


[5] From The Washington Post:


[6] For a rather intense look at how "truth" is determined in science, democracy, courts and markets, see the lead article in the American Bar Association's Journal on Dispute Resolution (Ohio State University), v.15, N.3, pp 597-618, Aug. 2000, "Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competition."


[7] I often demand that the red-capped fellah escrow funds with a reputable lawyer, before I’ll waste my time working out proofs. 


[8] Which is why this might best be implemented by some liberal/moderate millionaire, making it her ‘thing’ to hammer wager challenges relentlessly, perhaps at some oligarch peer, spending what it takes to pin him down.


[9] “Will you pick half a dozen widely respected conservative eminences to serve on a panel to advise which fact-checking services are partisan? I’ll pick as many respected-moderate liberals. They can together choose some libertarians. Not a ‘Ministry of Truth,’ but a panel of sages who might help us struggle out of this mess. Or are you afraid they’ll conclude you are the fake news?”


[10] Pick – even randomly – any five of the 12,000+ outright Trumpian falsehoods listed by the Washington Post’s “Fact-Checker” Glenn Kessler.


[11] Glaciers.


[12] How many times have you seen a Republican legislator evade questions of climate change with “I’m not a scientist” and Trump with “windmills cause cancer!” The Fact Act would nail all that, but this method works, too.


[13] Indeed, they generally assail the wrong fort, even the wrong mountain!


[14] Sherman did not invent slash-burn during the Civil War. The Confederacy did, though Sherman finished it. Likewise, they think we cannot learn; but some of us (those with the requisite predatory knack, underneath our civilized values) are able to adapt. Our goal remains “with malice toward none and with charity for all.” But in order to get there – to save America – we’ll fight.


[15] Earlier version of “Name an Exception.”


[16] At least until slimy aliens arrive, or the gene labs get very busy, or the Society of Secretly Speedy Shakespearian Sea Slugs gets angry at this tome, and finally finds the guts to step up.


[17] From New Yorker:


[18] Although I led the list with this one, having wracked my brains for years and exposed this challenge to a community of fierce minds, let me admit that there might be a couple of exceptions here. Knowledge/skill/fact professions not under assault by Fox & co. Only, I won’t reveal them here!  Even if your RASR comes up with one, the fact that he/she had to really think about it hard proves the point. Their “side” has gone insane.


[19] Goldfinger’s Rule: